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Journal article
Competition and norms: a self-defeating combination?
Genevieve Alberts, Zeynep Gurguc, Pantelis Koutroumpis, Ralf Martin, Mirabelle Muûls and Tamaryn Napp September 2016
Paper No' :

Tags: behavioural intervention; household energy demand; randomised controlled trial; information; norms; competition; growth

This paper investigates the effects of information feedback mechanisms on electricity and heating usage at a student hall of residence in London. In a randomised control trial, we formulate different treatments such as feedback information and norms, as well as prize competition among subjects. We show that information and norms lead to a sharp - more than 20% - reduction in overall energy consumption. Because participants do not pay for their energy consumption this response cannot be driven by cost saving incentives. Interestingly, when combining feedback and norms with a prize competition for achieving low energy consumption, the reduction effect - while present initially - disappears in the long run. This could suggest that external rewards reduce and even destroy intrinsic motivation to change behaviour.